Angelfire3 Posted 9 Jul 2012 , 12:58am
post #1 of

Greetings all,
I was wondering how do you all dowel very tall (5 tiers or taller) wedding cakes, especially when wooden dowels are not that tall? Thanks!

38 replies
tokazodo Posted 9 Jul 2012 , 1:30am
post #2 of

I purchase my dowels at a hardware store. They come in lengths of 36 or 48 inches.

CWR41 Posted 9 Jul 2012 , 2:13am
post #3 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelfire3

I was wondering how do you all dowel very tall (5 tiers or taller) wedding cakes, especially when wooden dowels are not that tall?




You dowel just like you would for any tiered cake, with short dowels the same height as each tier:
http://www.wilton.com/cakes/tiered-cakes/stacked-tiered-cake-construction.cfm

A long center dowel through all tiers may be used during transport.

icer101 Posted 9 Jul 2012 , 3:17am
post #4 of

If i have a cake that tall, i use 2 long wooden dowels for extra support. If you have a fondant covered cake, you dowel each tier, but then you can stack each tier using r/i for glue. No center dowel necessary. hth

CWR41 Posted 9 Jul 2012 , 2:30pm
post #5 of

Center dowels don't provide extra support... they only help to prevent tiers from sliding apart from one another.

ellavanilla Posted 9 Jul 2012 , 5:57pm
post #6 of

the last 5 tiered cake that i doweled fell apart in the summer heat. the center dowel did nothing to hold the cake together.

this week i did a 5 tier and used the SPS system. It was amazing and so much easier. I will never go back to straws/skewers and dowels.

KoryAK Posted 9 Jul 2012 , 8:26pm
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Please do not use hardware store dowels in cakes. No one there or at their factory would think twice about picking fallen ones off the floor and putting them right back on the rack (or worse). They. Are. Not. Meant. For. Food.

bambooimportsmn.com sells 24" ones and during the summer you can find" 31" ones at the grocery store made for long range marshmallow toasting. Barring that, just use one in the bottom few tiers a little to the left and one in the top few tiers a little to the right with some overlap in the center.

(this is all assuming we are talking about center dowels)

kakeladi Posted 9 Jul 2012 , 8:43pm
post #8 of

........Center dowels don't provide extra support... they only help to prevent tiers from sliding apart ..........

I have been trying to drum this into everyones heads for years now! Thanks for re-afirming it.

One can always put wooden dowels into plastic drink straws - keeping the wood from cake but Kory is right about how many dowels in hardwear stors are treated.

BakingIrene Posted 10 Jul 2012 , 1:17am
post #9 of

You need to remember that there is no realistic safe way to move a 5 tier cake after it has been stacked. You would need 4 weightlifters to get it into and out of a VAN not a car, and a heavy duty hand cart to then move it along.

So you don't need a long dowel (especially not a dirty one from the hardware store...) You need to plan to drive your cake to the site in no less than 3 pieces (if not all tiers separate). Then you can use 3 longish cake dowels OFF CENTER to pin the bottom 3 tiers together.

tokazodo Posted 10 Jul 2012 , 1:53am

I just remembered why I quit coming to this website.

I sanitize the dowels before I use them.
I wonder where Buddy Valastro gets he's wooden dowels, pvc pipes, plywood or 2 X 4's. Just sayin'

ReneeFLL Posted 10 Jul 2012 , 2:52am
Quote:
Originally Posted by tokazodo

I just remembered why I quit coming to this website.

I sanitize the dowels before I use them.
I wonder where Buddy Valastro gets he's wooden dowels, pvc pipes, plywood or 2 X 4's. Just sayin'




thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif Agreed. All you have to do is to wrap those "dirty" dowels in saran wrap.

KoryAK Posted 10 Jul 2012 , 2:57am

How are you going to hammer a sharpened, saran wrapped dowel through 4 cake boards?

And the other items like pipes can be run through the dish machine and sanitized; not really applicable with exposed wood.

And tokazodo, you stopped coming to the site because people were giving helpful advice in a clear manner to people who might not realize they were doing something incorrectly? By all means, keep doing things your own way - but that doesn't make it sanitary.

AZCouture Posted 10 Jul 2012 , 3:08am

Yuch to any musty wood in a cake, regardless of who made it or sanitized it or bathed in Unicorn tears first. Transport in a few sections, or two, like was suggested, stack on site, and no one (especially the serving staff/family) have to deal with a center dowel.

FromScratchSF Posted 10 Jul 2012 , 5:31am

Dowels sold in hardware stores should never be used in food. All wood sold there is treated with an anti-fungal chemical which is extremely poisionious. Since it is also designed to prevent mold, it's also water and moisture proof, so washing it will not do a thing to remove the chemical. Wrapping a wood dowel you bought at Home Depot in plastic then hammering it thru 5 tiers sounds like total fail to me.

PVC is quite food safe. It's what brings the water to your house.

So is any metal pipe designed to use for home plumbing. Totally safe. Although I was taught to spray liquid silicone over the metal otherwise it can make the cake have a metallic taste. The silicone also seals any joints (if you happen to have any) and prevents any spinning.

If you need to use wood dowels, you should always buy them from a craft store like Michales or JoAnns. That wood is untreated. They also sell 3 feet long ones. I use 1/2" for my 4+ tiers.

Angelfire3 Posted 10 Jul 2012 , 1:54pm

Greetings everyone! I apologize for my absence. My mother had a mini-heart attack but is in recovery. I want to say thank you so much for your helpful advice.

I don't understand how the SPS works. I will do a search and read on it. The tallest stacked cake I've done was a two tier. I used milk shake straws (Bubba tea) as my supports and I used a wooden dowel thru the center b/c I transported the cake assembled and I didn't want it to fall. I do have a wedding cake coming up in October and I just wanted to know how to transport a really tall cake, but now I know to either use the sps system or to assemble on site. I'm afraid to assemble on site for fear that something bad may happen.

Someone mentioned to "use one in the bottom few tiers a little to the left and one in the top few tiers a little to the right with some overlap in the center." and another person said to "use 3 longish cake dowels OFF CENTER to pin the bottom 3 tiers together" but how would that help prevent the cake from falling if the dowel isn't going through all of the tiers?

Don't worry, I won't use the wood from the hardware store. I've been in the one near me and they are not clean at all.

Again, I like to say THANK YOU for everyone's advice. I really appreciate it. Hugs to all!

BakingIrene Posted 10 Jul 2012 , 2:18pm

Assembling on site has maybe a 5% chance of trouble, if you plan to have a helper. You will check the cake table for wobbles before you put anything onto it, and the worst case would then be a drunken guest or running child kind of problem (which is not your doing).

Carrying 5 tiers stacked has an 80% chance of cake crashing type of disaster starting from the table where you assembled it. Table to doorway to steps to van to driving/braking multiple times to site to doorway to table. Please--just because you see it on TV does not mean you should even think about doing it.

The bottom three tiers of a 5 tier cake REQUIRE hard dowels not straws. SPS will do this. You can also buy plastic rods or 1/2" pipes and cut them in a mitre box so they are true and square and all the same length.

The bottom 3 tiers require far more support than a 2 tier cake, or the top 2 tiers of this cake. The dowels have to be placed correctly inside the position of each tier just above, to support all the weight above. On the bottom tier you need 2 circles of dowels to hold the rest of the cake.

In the absence of SPS, you need to pin with 3 long dowels in the bottom 3 tiers because they are by far the heaviest. The top 2 tiers together will be only about 1/4 of the total weight. If the base is solid, then these light tiers are also safe.

ellavanilla Posted 10 Jul 2012 , 4:27pm

OP
Here is the sticky for the SPS system. It answers all questions about the system.

http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-603925.html

IMO it is worth the small increase in cost to have the piece of mind that your cake won't fall and it won't be crooked. I took my tiers in cake boxes and assembled on-site. It was so easy that I feel badly thinking about the stress my past self went thru delivering cakes.

Tjensen Posted 10 Jul 2012 , 9:49pm

I recently had a 6 tier cake (14", double barrel 12, 10, 8, 6) which was stacked and decorated prior to delivery (picture is in my gallery). I use wood base with metal flange which sits down inside the foam core which is cut to allow for the flange, a screw in female piece of pvc and a pvc pipe that ran up through the cake. I used dowels in each layer and it traveled beautifully; however, it was very heavy and took two men to move it. I do it on every tiered cake and it has never failed. I have looked at SPS system and keep thinking im missing something...but if it ain't broke... lol

kakeladi Posted 10 Jul 2012 , 10:14pm

.........Yuch to any musty wood in a cake, regardless of who made it or sanitized it or bathed in Unicorn tears first........
.........The bottom three tiers of a 5 tier cake REQUIRE hard dowels not straws..........

I agree with the statement of the musty wood taste!! That's why I switched to plastic drink straws for some 90% of my cakes.
As I mentioned in another thread......one can always slip a wood dowel into a drink straw for both safty and extra strength.

Angelfire3 Posted 28 Sep 2012 , 1:22am

This is such a late response, but I wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone that responded. HUGS! I never received any notifications and I forgot about my question. The bride wants a 3 tier offset square wedding cake instead of 5 tiers. Her wedding is 30 days away. I'm eager and nervous at the same time. It's going to be 14, 10, 6" squares all 4" tall. Wish me luck.

costumeczar Posted 28 Sep 2012 , 1:43am

I have to add that venues hate center dowels. Unless they're removed after the cake is delivered it makes the cakes difficult to manage when they're being cut. I hear this from a lot of different venue managers, they hate it when people deliver a cake with a center doewl and leave it in. I just assemble on site for anything over three tiers, it makes the disassembling process a lot easier.

If I tried to add anything extra to the cost of a cake to cover the cost of a support system I'd lose business to the plethora of undercutters that live in my area, so I stick with wooden dowels and don't worry about it. If I drop them on the floor I lick them clean before inserting them into the cake icon_wink.gif

AZCouture Posted 28 Sep 2012 , 2:26am

Ummm, the bottom three tiers do NOT require dowels, sorry. I haven't used a dowel in years. I can do a 7 tier cake with bubble straws. Pffffffffft on dowels. But I'm very very comfy with them and know what I'm doing.

AZCouture Posted 28 Sep 2012 , 2:26am

And L-O-L at "Buddy does (anything)"

Brandimhoenig Posted 3 Dec 2012 , 12:23am
Quote:
Originally Posted by tokazodo 

I just remembered why I quit coming to this website.

I sanitize the dowels before I use them.
I wonder where Buddy Valastro gets he's wooden dowels, pvc pipes, plywood or 2 X 4's. Just sayin'

 



That's funny...I was wondering why no one was stating the obvious...just wash and sanitize the damn thing.  Just like you don't know where those have been, no one really knows how many dowels made for cakes like this were dropped on the floor in the factory also.  DUH!  Keep using your dowels and your intelligence...ignore the ignorant :)

ReneeFLL Posted 3 Dec 2012 , 6:49am

A

Original message sent by KoryAK

How are you going to hammer a sharpened, saran wrapped dowel through 4 cake boards?

And the other items like pipes can be run through the dish machine and sanitized; not really applicable with exposed wood.

And tokazodo, you stopped coming to the site because people were giving helpful advice in a clear manner to people who might not realize they were doing something incorrectly? By all means, keep doing things your own way - but that doesn't make it sanitary.

When I saran wrap the dowels, I have already cut holes in the boards. I don't hammer them in. You need to make sure your measurements are correct as to where to stick the dowel in so it goes thru the holes.

leah_s Posted 3 Dec 2012 , 3:10pm

ASPS is the way to go. Its easier to use than dowels. The tutorial is at the top of this Forum. Other info in my signature line.

ttaunt Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 4:59pm

Maybe someone should invent/patent a long plastic/pvc dowel with a nice point on it that has grooves on it where it can be shortened as needed. I would buy them. If a person would apply royal icing on the outside of such dowel it would maybe dry and seal cake onto dowel and less chance for cake tearing around dowel. Just thinking out loud,don't really know if this makes sense to anyone.

BatterUpCake Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 5:26pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttaunt 

Maybe someone should invent/patent a long plastic/pvc dowel with a nice point on it that has grooves on it where it can be shortened as needed. I would buy them. If a person would apply royal icing on the outside of such dowel it would maybe dry and seal cake onto dowel and less chance for cake tearing around dowel. Just thinking out loud,don't really know if this makes s!nse to anyone.

Do it! And when you get rich throw a big party with lots of cake!

 

Actually come to think of it Lowes has tomato support spikes just like that. You can cut through them with heavy wire cutters. Not sure what kind of plastic they are though

ttaunt Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 5:37pm

Think i'll try those tomato spike things. Thanks

leah_s Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 5:19pm

I routinely did 5 and 6, and I believe a few 7 tier cakes.  I'd only trust SPS.

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